With Covid 19 causing a shift in peoples work patterns and facilitating the ability to work from anywhere, we have seen many natives return to reap the rewards of Donegal living as they are reminded of the fulfilling quality of life on offer here. Ahead of the trend, Erin McGinty @coolestplaceontheplanet once travelled the world as a successful women in finance with a hectic lifestyle, entertaining the business elite, before returning to her native Donegal in 2018 as she “craved a better quality of life, craved a routine, to be close to family, the hills and the sea air”.
Having spent 10 years travelling extensively across the globe with work, which at times included 3 countries per week, Erin realised she needed a change Erin recalls “I made the decision to move home to Donegal, I craved a better quality of life". On return home, she secured a teaching position in Dungloe where she still teaches today. “Teaching is the most rewarding job I've ever done and it provides such a healthy work life balance, I can't imagine doing anything else at the moment.”
“I enjoy my life in Donegal more than I ever thought I would. I love adventure and just being out in the open air exploring, running, hiking, swimming anything you can knock a bit of craic out of.”
It is no secret that Donegal is an adventurer’s haven, but Erin found that at the time of her return it was difficult to find accessible information on the things to do in Donegal. With the shift in how people research information moving primarily online, Erin began to use social platforms such as Instagram to plan her itineraries and decided to begin to expand on this resource for Donegal. Setting up her Instagram @coolestplaceontheplanet allowed Erin to catalogue her adventures throughout Donegal whilst also introducing her followers to the unspoilt beauty of the county.
“Over the last two years in particular lots of fun day trips have started like ‘paddle and prosecco’ or kayaking and hiking tours. Living in Donegal is one of the most exciting places because you can head off and do all of these fun trips after work or at the weekend, all within a short distance.
“Another thing I underestimated when I moved home was the food; we honestly have some of the best restaurants (with the freshest local produce) in the world. They say build a life you don't need a holiday from and I feel like that's exactly what you can do here in Donegal”.
Coming from a local business background and understanding the importance of nurturing and promoting local investment, she seized the opportunity to highlight Donegal as a place for business investment via her social media platform.
“When I started @coolestplace I documented all the local businesses I was buying from in the hope it would help their business grow. If we have a booming local economy everyone benefits”.
Acknowledging the benefits of collaborating with Erin, and in recognition of her efforts in supporting her local economy, many local businesses request to work with Erin to promote their offering.
“I still pinch myself knowing that if you buy from FitPink (Donegal town based athleisure wear) you'll see a picture of me at the top of Errigal on the tag or if you pop onto Michael Murphy's website to buy Donegal gear you'll see me showcasing the latest collections”.
The Paper Press, Muff Liquor Company, Get That Trend and Kelly's Toyota are other innovative Donegal businesses that Erin has had the privilege of working with, as well as being a race ambassador for Donegal Adventure Races with Excel Sports and WAAR.
Erin believes exploring Donegal provides endless possibilities and some of her travel suggestions for natives and vistors alike include “taking part in one of Donegal’s races like the seven sisters or the half marathon around Glencolmcille, hiking through the Derryveagh mountain range, kayaking the 7 arches on the Fanad peninsula or around the caves at Dunree Fort in Inishowen”. She also says that visiting the Islands is like a whole other world saying “there is just something very special about the likes of Gola, Tory or Owey and its hidden lake”.
She adds “surfing around Dunfanaghy, Bundoran and Rossnowlagh you'll come across the best waves in the world and if you love waking up by the water, we are lucky that it's not a problem with over a thousand kilometres of coastline here in Donegal”.
Follow Erin on Instagram @coolestplaceontheplanet to see what Donegal has to offer !